THE SOMMELIERS SELECTION 2018 WINNERS … taste a range of wines to suit every palate and pocket


The Sommeliers Selection is the only South African wine competition judged solely by a panel of South Africa’s top sommeliers, in categories fashioned around the perfect varietals for a restaurant wine menu.

This year, more than 300 wines from 120 of the country’s top wine estates were entered into the contest which was held in Cape Town in June. Winning wines to be sampled at the Gauteng tastings come from over 50 farms and include the likes of Almenkerk, Babylonstoren, De Grendel, Eikendal, Glen Carlou, Jan Harmsgat, L’Avenir, Lothian Vineyards, Mont Blois and many more.

The tasting will take place on the stunning pool deck of the Tsogo Sun Hyde Park on Wednesday, August 29, with doors opening first to the trade at 16:00 and then to the public an hour later at 17:00. Doors will close at 20:00.

Tickets for the public cost R75pp and are available at

Says Darielle Robertson from The Sommeliers Selection: “With the rapid and exciting growth of the food and wine industry in South Africa over the last 20 years, consumers are looking for experienced guidance when it comes to selecting wine. This competition does just that.

“With categories such as Fresh & Crunchy White or Voluptuous & Rich Red wines of different varieties, blends and pricing, but stylistically similar, can stand alongside each other. The panel of Sommeliers then blind taste individually, before discussing the wines and deciding if they fulfill the criteria of being placed on the Sommeliers Selection “ultimate” wine list.”

Judges for this year’s competition included:

  • Joakim Hansi Blackadder (head of the wine programme for The Hoghouse Brewing Company and board member of both Somm Hospitality Enterprises and SA Sommelier Association);
  • Wikus Human (Head Sommelier at Marble restaurant);
  • Tinashe Nyamudoka (Head Sommelier at The Test Kitchen);
  • Minenhle “Minnie” Mthombeni (wine steward at Karibu restaurant);
  • Spencer Fondaumiere (GM and Group Sommelier for Neil Grant’s chain of restaurants);
  • Esmé Groenewald (administrater for the SA Sommelier Association and board member of Somm Hospitality Enterprises);
  • Barry Scholfield (board member of SA Sommelier Association and Somm Hospitality Enterprises);
  • Billet Magara (Sommelier and Tasting Room Manager for Paserene Wines, Franschhoek);
  • Neil Grant (restaurateur and founding member of the South African Sommelier Association).

At the annual feedback session with the winning list, the panel discussed the entered wines, what they looked for in a perfect wine list and which wines “wowed them as well as the emphasis on the importance of judging wines for ideal pairing with food.

Said Blackadder: “The competition, now in its fourth year, has become one the most relevant and exciting competitions on the calendar with its unique angle and approach. Lengthy and passionate discussions took place between the experienced sommeliers on the panel pertaining to the wines’ age worthiness, suitability with food and overall value for money.”

For a full list of the winning wines, go to

Or download the list here.

  • Venue: 8th Floor, Tsogo Sun Hyde Park, Johannesburg
  • Date: Wednesday, August 29
  • Times: From 16:00 trade only

               From 17:00 public – Doors close 20:00.

  • Tickets: R75pp (no persons under 18 permitted)
  • Book:

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BY: JAG Communications:

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